Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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Posted by Judy Moon

You wake up, and you notice that itchy, scratchy, sore tickle in your throat. You feel a little fuzzy, congested, you begin sneezing, you start to feel chilled, your body is sore and achy as if you just worked out. That’s right – you’re sick! The cold /flu season is upon us again.

Do I come in for a massage or not? It might make me feel better, right?

Here’s the truth.

The cold and flu are thought to be spread primarily through the droplets that occur in the air when you cough or you sneeze. They can remain in the air or land on surfaces that others may touch. When you enter a massage treatment room, you will be in a small space that usually doesn’t have great ventilation – there aren’t typically lots of windows to let fresh air in. We want a dark, cozy room, right? Not only are you exposing your therapist to the risk of infection, but other people who will be seeking treatment.

Although it may seem comforting to receive a massage while you are experiencing those symptoms, your body is already working hard; your immune system is doing double duty. Massage can be too taxing on the body that is already in fight mode. You may also actually feel worse after the massage.

However, when you are FREE OF SYMPTOMS, massage therapy can help you push that reset button and get back in the groove. It is important to wait till your flu/cold symptoms have passed before you come in.

We sometimes ache when we have a cold or flu. Why is that?

According to – One of the main reasons that your body aches when you are sick, like with a cold is that your body’s immune system is producing plenty of anti-bodies. These anti-bodies also produce histamines, which typically dilates (widens) blood vessel near an infection, this allows for more of the body’s defenses to get at the infection.  There are histamine receptors in blood vessels that cause them to dilate. As these chemicals are released into your blood stream they can end up in your muscles or other body parts. Various body systems can have receptors to histamine that can then trigger a pain receptor.

So when you start to feel like you old self again, schedule a massage. You’ve probably been laying around a lot. You might be stiff. Your immune system could use a boost. Some pressure point work in the sinus area would feel divine. You’ve been coughing -those back muscles could use some TLC.

Better yet, schedule massage as a preventative. Massage is great for helping the body stay strong enough to resist the infection even if you are exposed:

  • It increases circulation of blood and lymph- which is immune boosting
  • Decreases stress levels , which makes us less susceptible in the first place
  • Encourages better sleep, which is one of the keys to good health

Be well and don’t forget your vitamin C!

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